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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 19 February 2007

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Digital Departures Arrives In Liverpool

LIVERPOOL is set to become Europe’s shining light for micro-budget filmmaking with an ambitious plan to produce 3 feature-length films in the city in the run up to the 2008 Capital of Culture celebrations.  North West Vision, together with its partners the Liverpool Culture Company, the UK Film Council and the BBC, is inviting writers, producers and directors from the city and across the broader Northwest to get involved in the ground-breaking Digital Departures project.

“Liverpool is already recognised as a city of exceptional screenwriting talent and as a film-friendly location, but this brand new initiative will maximise the potential of the region's most talented filmmaking teams and provide a global platform for their work,” says Chris Moll, Head of Funds for North West Vision, the film, TV and digital media development agency for the Northwest.

Tim Cagney, Head of UK Partnerships at the UK Film Council agrees:- “Digital Departures will ensure that film plays a central role in the European Capital of Culture celebrations. We are confident that it will unearth some outstanding talent, deliver great films and become a dynamic model of micro budget production that Liverpool can export across the world.”

Guided throughout by experienced industry professionals, each of the 3 Digital Departures films will have a cash budget of £250,000, to be fully financed by the partners. They will be developed, shot and post-produced in Liverpool and will premiere in the city in the autumn of 2008. The films will then be distributed nationally and internationally across a variety of digital platforms including the UK’s rapidly-expanding Digital Screen Network. The BBC is taking UK broadcast TV rights.

North West Vision and its partners are also planning to offer a range of assistance to filmmakers including comprehensive training through a bespoke initiative called Digital Arrivals, in-kind support from leading facilities and service companies, specialised marketing and distribution advice and an innovative ‘revenue share’ model which ensures that everyone involved in the production benefits in its financial success.

“Digital Departures is an opportunity for filmmakers to immerse themselves in the creative opportunities of low-budget filmmaking.

We are essentially looking for two things... ideas which are fresh, bold and distinctive, and talent who can grasp the challenge and deliver to an audience with very high expectations.” explains Steve Jenkins Head of Films at BBC Programme Acquisitions.

“In keeping with the spirit of 2008, these productions will fully engage the creativity of the region’s directors, writers, producers, performers, technicians and musicians as well as drawing to Liverpool some of the most exciting, young filmmaking talent currently at work in UK and across Europe,” says Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council.

Jason Harborow, Chief Executive of the Liverpool Culture Company, adds:- “Digital Departures will usher in a new era for film in Liverpool and forms part of the commissioning strand of the 2008 programme. Sustainable film production in the city will ultimately come from equipping local filmmakers with the skills, self–confidence and relationships to grow into internationally successful artists.”

To find out how to get involved with this fantastic scheme please visit:- digitaldepartures.co.uk.  North West Vision’s website.

MANCHESTER DOCK UNCOVERED

AN archaeological excavation is underway on Liverpool’s famous waterfront in advance of the construction of the new Museum of Liverpool. The project sees a team of National Museums Liverpool archaeologists and volunteers excavating parts of the former Manchester Dock, Chester Basin and the nearby quaysides on the Mann Island site.

Over the past month the excavations have exposed the layout of the 19th century Manchester Dock following the removal of the 20th century surface. A viewing platform has been erected so that visitors to the area can see the excavation which will eventually be 4 metres deep and covers the footprint of the new museum.

Although Manchester Basin was originally constructed in the 1780s as a tidal basin for river traffic, the dock visible today was created by the addition of an entrance lock around 1810 to 1815. The dock was in use until the 1920s when it was filled in, using rubble from the construction of the Mersey Tunnel. The dock was originally used as a depot for barges belonging to the Shropshire Union Canal Company and later the Great Western Railway. In the 19th century it played an important role in Liverpool’s import and export trade – handling coal and manufactured goods out and corn and cotton in to the city. 

Manchester Dock lock is now one of the earliest surviving entrance lock in the Liverpool docks complex, other examples of late 18th and early 19th century locks having either being extensively modified or destroyed.  The excavation has uncovered the early 19th century lock, as well as the outline of the western part of the sandstone wall of the Manchester Dock, which has evidence of mason’s marks on individual blocks reflecting the construction method of the dock. The wooden lock gates, made from what is thought to be a tropical hardwood, have survived and are visible.

The Museum of Liverpool will be one of the world’s leading city history museums reflecting Liverpool’s global significance through its unique geography, history and culture.  Building on the incredible success of the Museum of Liverpool Life, the new museum will draw on National Museums Liverpool’s vast wealth of collections, many of which have never been on public display. As a vital part of the legacy of 2008, when Liverpool becomes European Capital of Culture, it will express Liverpool's confidence as a great 21st century European city.

Any finds recovered during the archaeological dig will eventually form part of displays in one of the museum’s key galleries Port City, which will explore Liverpool’s role as a port city and the development of its architecture, infrastructure, people and commerce. It will follow the story of the industrial revolution, the development of the dock system and the people living and working underneath the rails of the Overhead Railway.

For up to date information on the dig or Museum of Liverpool visit website.

Blair snubbed on 'war on terror'

IN a direct attack on Tony Blair's foreign policy, Labour MEPs voted to condemn the UK's alliance with USA in the war on terror.  The vote in the European Parliament also implies that the UK would be unable to deport non-UK citizens and be required to provide diplomatic help to UK residents who trained in the terrorist camps in Afghanistan.

Labour's double standards were condemned by Sir Robert Atkins MEP, Conservative Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who said:- "Labour today voted against Blair, the USA and NATO and in favour of more EU powers over security and counter-terrorism.  Labour wants a 'water pistol' war on terror with MI6 and the CIA fighting with 1 hand tied behind their backs and a committee of MEPs monitoring the battle. Security is, and must be, the responsibility of national parliaments and governments. 

I particularly condemn the requirement on the British Government to extend consular protection to former UK residents who had not bothered to become citizens, but chosen instead to travel to dangerous parts of the world. This is contrary to all the traditional obligations and rights of citizenship of our Member States."

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